The Wanderlust Book Tag

It’s been some time, actually, since we did a book tag. As we were recently tagged by the wonderful Orangutan Librarian with The Wanderlust Book Tag we decided to do one now πŸ™‚ It looks very interesting, especially as one of us starts thinking about this year’s travelling plans, and the other is just finishing their holidays… πŸ˜€

First, Rules of Engagement:

  • Mention the creator of the tag and link back to original post [Alexandra @ Reading by Starlight]
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you – thanks, Orangutan Librarian! This one’s fun!
  • Answer the 10 questions below using any genre
  • Tag 5+ friends

and now,

the questions:

1. Secrets and lies: a book set in a sleepy small town

Ola: James Lovegrove’s Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon is a really nice example of the “cozy mystery” genre, full of nods in all the important directions, and yet still holding up commendably on its own.

Piotrek: Winter Rose by Patricia McKillip takes place in a sleepy village, but there are secrets and lies in a small community, and getting to the hard truth is the key to success of our protagonist.

2. Salt and sand: a book with a beach-side community

Piotrek: H.P. Lovecraft, The Shadow Over Innsmouth. I don’t remember if there was an actual beach, but definitely a sea-side community of sorts is the central part of the story πŸ™‚ No the perfect seaside for you summer vacation, mind you. Re-reading Lovecraft is one of the great many things I need to do!

Ola: Zoe Gilbert’s Folk is definitely a book that stays with the reader long after the covers are shut. I was deeply impressed by the maturity and melody of her writing voice, and more than a bit appalled by the ferocious abuse visited by her on Folk’s protagonists – the violent fantasy clad in the everyday reality of a small beach-side community, hidden in gorse bushes and suspended indefinitely somewhere between the eighteenth and early twentieth century. Thanks to Bookforager for putting this one on my radar!

3. Here there be dragons: a book with a voyage on the high seas

Piotrek: Naomi Novik’s In His Majesty’s Service, where there literally are dragons πŸ™‚ The first sea voyage there is perhaps my favourite part, when our hero gets to know the dragon. The second one, to the Orient, is where I lost my interest…


Ola: R.J. Barker’s The Bone Ships, the review of which is coming soon ;). I enjoyed the book a lot, and the voyage on the high seas forming the foundations of the plot is indeed one of special importance to the world’s almost extinct dragons…

JMW Turner Dutch Boats in a Gale
JMW Turner, Dutch Boats in a Gale (National Gallery in London)

4. Tread lightly: a book set down a murky river or a jungle

Piotrek: Just now, I’m reading Czajkowski’s Guns at Down! Ola read it so long ago, the review is in Polish πŸ™‚

Ola: Oh well, once I have more time on my hands I might actually translate it to English – but that probably won’t happen in the next five years… πŸ˜€

Piotrek: And I will write a few words also, but after I finish. So far – so good, halfway through it’s seems to be a great stand-alone novel.

Ola: I’m tempted to put another Hobb’s series here, Rain Wild Chronicles, but instead I’ll revert to one of my favorites, the classic of classics, recounting the archetypal journey to the heart of darkness – Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

Piotrek: One of the all-time greatest.

5. Frozen wastes: a book with a frost bitten atmosphere

Ola: Robin Hobb’s Fool’s Fate, the third book in the Tawny Man Trilogy.


Wonderfully bittersweet, absolutely breathtaking both in its moments of triumph and despair. An open ending to a fascinating journey, topped by Hobb years later by The Fitz and The Fool trilogy: Fool’s Assassin, Fool’s Quest, and Assassin’s Fate, the ultimate conclusion to one of the most unique and masterful fantasy series out there πŸ˜‰


Piotrek: The Left Hand of Darkness. I’ve read it first long ago, too young to get the important ideas, but I remembered the journey through snows of the planet called Winter. I even wrote a short s/f story in Primary School, loosely based on that, and got 5/6 because it was too bloody for the teachers taste…

6. The boonies: a book with ruff or isolated terrainΒ 


Ola: C. Robert Cargill’s Sea of Rust. A review will be coming, I promise, but for now let’s just say it’s Mad Max meets The Girl With All The Gifts in this post-apocalyptic, post-human tale about survival, trauma, loyalty and love.

7. Hinterlands and cowboys: a book with a western-esque setting

Ola: Ed McDonald’s The Raven’s Mark trilogy has all the marks of a solid Western, but the middle book, Ravencry, is an especially good fit here – the Misery is just such a perfect case of badlands I wouldn’t bother finding another πŸ˜‰

Piotrek: Red Country, a book I’ve read quite recently, and liked a lot.

Ola: Incidentally, the protagonists in both books exude strong Clint Eastwood vibes – gritty, stone-faced, and tormented by their past, and yet still capable ofΒ  interacting with the world in the most visceral, violent manner…


8. Look lively: a book set across sweeping desert sands

Piotrek: The Scarab Path by Adrian Czajkowski, in an Egypt-like desert state that you wanna see before it gets devoured by an empire of evil Wasps.

Ola: Tim Powers’ Declare: more desert than you’d ever wish for, with jinns and spies and the unbearable heat of the Cold War – and just deserts for those wanting to play with fire πŸ˜€

9. Wild and untamed: a book set in the heart of the woods

Ola: I’m going to go with Astrid Lindgren‘s Ronja The Robber’s Daughter. A fabulous coming of age tale, set deep in the woods in the wonderfully Medieval neverwhen, where nature plays the utmost role in everything, and the cycles of life and death are subtly, convincingly acknowledged without becoming deterministic.

Piotrek: Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock. Woods so deep, they preserve the earliest archetypes of humanity. A fascinating story, but rather sadder than Ronja…

10. Wildest dreams: a whimsical book shrouded in magic

Piotrek: The world of The Wizard Knight by Gene Wolfe gives this impressions, at least when see through the eyes of its young, unreliable narrator. A world that combines Christian and Norse mythologies, with totally whimsical elves/fairies…

Ola: What could fit better this category than Neil Gaiman’s retelling of The Norse Mythology? Mythologies are of particular interest to me, and the Norse, Celtic, Slavic and Greek mythologies are my absolute favourites. I’m presently learning more about Maori myths, and they are fascinating!

That’s it, folks! Many people already did this one, so in our turn we’d like to tag Chris at Calmgrove, Aaron at Swords and Spectres, Maddalena at Space and Sorcery, Lashaan at Bookidote, Sarah at Hamlets and Hyperspace, and of course, the one and only Bookstooge – and anyone else willing to take a stab at it! πŸ˜€ No pressure, but if you feel like it would be fun, we’d love to read your answers!

47 thoughts on “The Wanderlust Book Tag

  1. Thanks for the tag. Just so you know, it’s not coded correctly, so doesn’t go anywhere. πŸ˜‰
    I have not done this tag before (that I can find) so I think I’ll try it for March. Give me an “easy” post!

    Now, on to some serious commenting…

    1) McKillip for the W-I-N-!!!!!! Sorry, but that wasn’t even a contest in my eyes (not that is supposed to BE a contest, you two being such good, amicable friends and all) (and this is why I am a blogger of One πŸ˜‰ )

    2) I read a bunch of Lovecraft’s stuff a couple of years ago. I like the ideas but prefer the more modern writers who actually write action into the stories taking place in his universe. I found his writing rather lethargic.

    3) Novik lost me then too, but I tried for another couple of books. That was a mistake, as now I’ll never read anything by her, period.
    Barker has always struck me as very grimdark’y, so I’ve stayed away from him, no matter how much praise I see heaped upon his books.

    4) Guns of the Dawn was a great book. Given Tchaikovsky’s penchant for disdaining those in authority, I saw the “twist” coming a mile off, but it was a good book nonetheless. I’d think about recommending it to those who want to dabble if they’re intimidated by his Apt series (sissies!)
    BOTH of you like Heart of Darkness? I enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting to, but still would never read it again.

    5) I tried one of Hobbs’ books and have to admit I don’t understand what all the hullaballoo is about. Of course, I can say the same for Left Hand too πŸ˜€ I think Left Hand will disappear in another 25 years.

    6) I like the cover for Sea of Rust. Never read it though.

    7) You and Lashaan convinced me with your reviews to try the Ravenmark trilogy. At least I’ll have an easy time of blaming people if I don’t like it πŸ˜‰

    8) Shadows of the Apt for ALL THE WINS (even if someone is a grumpy pants and doesn’t love the ending!)
    I’ve been so hit and miss with Powers that I don’t read his stuff any more besides the Anubis Gates and On Stranger Tides. Those are worth re-reading imo.

    9) I just saw on LT the other day someone talking another non-Pippi Longstocking book by Lindgren. I had no idea she was as prolific as she was.

    10) Wizard Knight was the book that convinced me that Wolf was a crackpot and his fans were in denial about being able to tell a good story from a bad one πŸ˜‰ Apparently, Pio, I have my work cut out for me to rehabilitate you!

    Great post, folks! I think I’ll try to start this this coming weekend so I don’t forget about it. That tends to happen a lot with tags and me for some reason.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Weird; I see the link going to your Warhammer post – in any case, I’ll change it so it goes to your site πŸ˜‰
      1) waaah this McKillip totally didn’t work out for me πŸ˜› But I’m willing to give her another try, maybe with Forgotten Beasts of Eld πŸ˜‰
      2) I enjoy Lovecraft’s ideas a lot – his writing, not so much, though I must say it possesses certain antiquated charm πŸ™‚
      3) Barker is not grimdark at all – Bakker, on the other hand, all too much… Barker’s first trilogy, The Wounded Kingdom, didn’t make an impression on me – rather derivative and too much inspired by Hobb for my tastes, and I didn’t care one whit about the characters so never finished it. But The Bone Ships are a different animal altogether, the writing’s much better, the story more concise and interesting, and the worldbuilding is really cool – plus, ships and pirates and sea battles! πŸ˜€
      4) Agreed on Guns – though I still much prefer Shadows of the Apt, which is brilliant!
      5) I guess you’d need to read more than one book with a writer like Hobb to appreciate her writing – probably the reverse situation of mine with McKillip πŸ˜‰
      6) It’s a new book, from 2017, despite the very cool-looking, old-school cover. I’m not sure you’d like it, but I’m not sure you wouldn’t – once you get over the fact that it takes place in a world after AI revolution in which all humans were slaughtered…
      7) Yay! Bring it on! πŸ˜€
      8) Declare is very interesting, heavily leaning toward modern history and thriller and spy mystery – very enjoyable mashup, though. My favorite Powers is definitely Anubis Gates.
      9) Lindgren was a fantastic writer, and I absolutely adore her books. Never was a fan of Pippi, but the stories of Emil of Lonneberga and Ronja are among my all-time favorites πŸ˜€

      I’m really looking forward to reading your answers to this one! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The reason it goes to my warhammer post for you is because you are logged in to your “reader”. If you look at the link, I saw a “reader” included in the link, which only works for you. I’m guessing you didn’t fully click on over to my Warhammer post, as sometimes WordPress takes you to a page in the reader. It has happened to me before, so even though I’m not explaining it very well, I do actually know what I’m try to explain πŸ˜€

        1) I’d recommend the Tower at Stony Woods or the Book of Atrix Wolfe before the Forgotten Beasts.

        3) I have no idea how I got the idea that Barker was grimdark then. Bakker I have no use for, that sod can sod himself to sodding death as far as I’m concerned.

        4) Nothing beats the Apt as far as I’m concerned. I just know people are commitment phobic and it is 10 books long.

        5) No thanks. I’ve learned that if I don’t like a story by an author, stay away from that storyline. Dresden taught me that lesson πŸ™‚

        6) I’ve read enough of the reviews (as it was released on netgalley) to know that it probably isn’t my thing.

        7) I’ve got it on my tbr, so I’m guessing I’ll get to it in a year or so.

        8) Is Declare depressing like “Her Solemn Regard”? I finished that book but it was really tough for me.

        Looking at my schedule, it should go up sometime mid-March πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Gotcha! Changed it, and I’ll be changing the other links as well – thanks!

          1) Good to know – Tower at Stony Woods it is πŸ™‚

          3) Barker is rather far from grimdark, The Bone Ships are a cool story, and I’ll be posting a review sometime in the next few weeks.

          4) YES! πŸ˜€

          5)Fair enough – I’ll let you know how my second McKillip goes πŸ˜‰

          6) Thought as much – doesn’t feel like something you’d much enjoy.

          7) Can’t wait to read your impressions! Feel free to put the blame on me πŸ˜‰

          8) Not as depressing as The Stress of Her Regard, but definitely less funny and much scarier than Anubis Gates. Plus, it has a high espionage factor – clandestine meetings, chases, chaotic gunfights, cyphers, etc.

          Yay! I do wonder where your Wanderlust will take us πŸ˜€

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Huh, I never was notified of this comment. Wicked Sorry!

            March is looking pretty full at the moment (my reading really took off for some reason) but am currently writing this up, so I’m going to squeeze it in somehow. Thanks again πŸ™‚

            Liked by 2 people

            1. No worries! πŸ™‚

              Glad your reading soars! Is the job any better yet?

              Lucky you, spring is coming on your hemisphere, longer days and more energy ahead… Here, we’re seeing the first signs of autumn. For me it probably means more time for reading, but I’d prefer spring and summer anyway! πŸ˜‰

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I am becoming more acclimated to the job, but not liking it better. Probably the best I can hope for though. I am getting what I want out of it though, so while I complain, I really shouldn’t πŸ™‚

                Yep, only another month or 7 weeks of winter before we start seeing Spring!

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Hope you’ll start enjoying it more anyway πŸ™‚

                  Lol, are you serious? Is winter really so entrenched where you live (Maine or whereabouts if I remember correctly?) I know Europe this year has no winter to speak of, no snow and no frost at all.

                  Liked by 1 person

    2. piotrek

      Well, the tag is sort of no-aggresive that way, whoever actually gets here and reads it, might decide to join πŸ™‚ Or so I thought, but apparently Ola fixed it πŸ˜‰
      Thanks for all the comments, I’m willing to bet that, when we do some other tag in 25 years, Left Hand will still be a classic everybody will recognize πŸ˜› About Wizard Knight, though, I won’t argue too much, fun for me, but with faults.
      Heart of Darkness is a classic, great in itself, and a constant inspiration, part of my canon (though I’ve only read it once, as well)…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I enjoyed reading this. I seriously need to read Bone Ships and those Naomi Novik books (love dragons!!).
    I’ve been interested in Folk as well. Will have to work my way to it.
    And oh man do I love your description of the Tawney Man books: “Wonderfully bittersweet, absolutely breathtaking both in its moments of triumph and despair.” << SO on point!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks a bunch! πŸ˜€
      Bone Ships are definitely worth reading! I’ve read the first book in Novik Temeraire series and enjoyed it, albeit with some caveats ;), and as a result I’m not sure whether I’ll be reading the subsequent installments. But the first book is really nice, and the dragon is magnificent πŸ˜‰ so there’s that.
      Folk was a tough one for me, I admire the author’s voice, but her penchant for either mindless or outright malevolent violence and abuse was unsettling – I didn’t really see the reason, in terms of structure or character development (or any other, for that matter) for most of it. But it is an unusual read, and it stays with you for a long time.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh hey thanks for the tag!! I need to catch up on these.

    The only book I’ve read here is Sea Of Rust (Cargill) but I really enjoyed it! And Tchaikovsky (I’m only spelling it this way because I’m not familiar with the Polish spelling!) is great- though I haven’t yet read the two you mentioned here so I’ll have to get to it! A bunch of these others are also on my TBR.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re welcome! Looking forward to your spin on it πŸ™‚

      We’re long-time fans of Czajkowski/Tchaikovsky – and we keep the Polish spelling on his own insistence (apparently when he was to be published in Poland he asked for the Polish spelling of his name on the covers, as this was the original spelling, but the publisher refused on the grounds that he’s already better known in Poland with the English spelling ;))
      Shadows of the Apt is his absolutely stunning, 10 book series, which I cannot recommend enough πŸ˜€
      And Guns of the Dawn is basically Sense and Sensibility in a Vietnam-esque war ;), and it’s a standalone, so probably much more accessible… πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Awesome tag! I think I saw Zeezee do this one recently and made a note of it. It’s definitely one I want to have a go at.
    Love all your answers! And thank you for the shout out Ola. Glad you enjoyed Folk. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re very welcome, and thank you! 😊
      I’ll be looking forward to reading your take on this tag, it’s a lot of fun and does exactly what it promises in it’s name: wakes up Wanderlust in the authors and the readers alike 🀣

      Liked by 1 person

    1. piotrek

      If you want to πŸ™‚
      I remember the story, but had to browse my collection to identify the title… but it’s one of a few that made the bigest impression on me.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. That murderous woman-child psychopath with affinity to shadows and dark? Dear friend, you and I know very well that her place is only on the pages of second-rate books 😁 Though I’m pretty sure, had she sprouted a few tentacles and aquired an interesting greenish tint, she would have been quite a match for our poor benighted author.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d love to see your answers!
      Yeah, Hobb crops up in tags like this πŸ˜‰ I still think more people should read her books! πŸ˜€

      I love Lindgren’s books, from Ronja and Emil to Brothers Lionheart and Lotta the little rebel. Ronja and Emil remain especially close to my heart – and I think they will keep their special place indefinitely πŸ˜‰


  5. Excellent picks for this one, guys! So many are on my TBR. I definitely need to rectify things as soon as possible.

    I hope to get around to reading Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness this year too (by the way, I love that edition!), especially when Apocalypse Now turned out to join my list of favourite movies in 2019!

    The Left Hand of Darkness is one that I also really want to try. I’m hesitant between trying that one first or her Earthsea saga. I do love the sound of your bloody essay though hahah Sounds like a fun one. πŸ˜€

    I’m pleasantly surprised to see Sea of Rust here because I vividly remember back on its release date and was sooooo hesitant on picking it up, especially when I saw no one talk about it hahaha Sounds like something worth checking out for sure now.

    Thanks for the tag though! I’ll definitely try and sneak it into my schedule at some point! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! πŸ˜€

      Oh, yes, Heart of Darkness is a must! Don’t judge it by Apocalypse Now, though, these are two different animals altogether πŸ˜‰

      I’d go for Earthsea, for many reasons, one of which is that Earthsea and Left Hand are totally different in almost every aspect. Earthsea is a foundational fantasy, a valuable counterpoint to Tolkien’s vision, and one I particularly cherish – especially the first part if the saga, The Wizard of Earthsea.

      I think you’d enjoy Sea of Rust quite a lot, actually, it seems like something that would be right up your alley πŸ˜‰ Gritty and pessimistic, but not without a bit of dark humor and a light of hope (or something more sinister at the end of the tunnel…) πŸ˜€

      Can’t wait to see where you’re going to take us on your Wanderlust journey, Lashaan!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Late to the party, sorry — lots of musical rehearsals, performances and, most recently, Storm Dennis — but whether or not you’d tagged me I’d certainly have been drawn by this meme! I’d heard of, seen reviewed or actually read nearly half of these and may even be featuring one or two of them myself! And I shall be looking at a couple of those reviews I seem to have missed…

    Another great two-hander, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Chris, and no worries! πŸ˜€

      How are your performances and rehearsals? I trust they are going along splendidly! I’m not inquiring after the Storm Dennis, however (which should’ve really be called Donald, if you ask me) – I’ve seen the pictures of the flooded streets in the news and I do hope it will pass soon!

      I’m certainly looking forward to reading about your Wanderlust journey! πŸ˜€


  7. Pingback: R.J. Barker, The Bone Ships (2019) | Re-enchantment Of The World

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  10. Oh I love your choice of Winter Rose Piotrek- I read that recently and it’s perfect for a sleepy town. I very much like the sound of Folk! And I really want to get into Novik’s temeraire series as well (hehe excellent choice, considering it has actual dragons!) Heart of Darkness is a brilliant choice!! Definitely one of the all time greatest! Ooh I like Ravencry as a pick too! I still really need to read Norse Mythology. Loved reading your answers for this!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Fun for Monday: The Wanderlust Tag – bookforager

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